Talking about the best ecommerce software, what is suitable for seller A might not be the same for seller B.
But when you narrow down your search to review Shopify vs Etsy comparison, choosing the most suitable option for your unique set of needs is likely to be easy.
And that’s what this post is all about. From start to finish, we’ll be looking into the core differences between Shopify and Etsy. Assuming you’ve got some unique questions along this line, you’ll get the answers in this post.
Beyond the price considerations, we’ll be looking into the features needed to start and run a successful ecommerce business. With that, you’ll be able to take your specific business model into account and then decide what is best for you regarding affordability, scalability, payment processing, and security.
Whatever your needs are at the moment, let’s dive into the Shopify and Etsy reviews.
Firstly, we have to look into the basics and positioning of each software in the market. From there, you should be able to start noticing the differences between Etsy vs Shopify.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is an ecommerce software platform providing tools and services to help people start selling different products or services online. Founded in 2006, the Canadian company now has over 11,000 employees working to power online sales for 1,000,000+ businesses of all sizes.
From order processing to marketing and payments, you’ll find a unique suite of powerful tools created to help people like you start and run an online store.
The best part is that you can use a custom domain name (EG: storename.com) to integrate your online store with other relevant tools and platforms needed to run a profitable ecommerce business.
What Is Etsy?
At its core, Etsy is an online marketplace that enables creatives of all types to sell unique products across different industries and niche markets. Inside Etsy.com, you can buy products directly from sellers across categories like home, jewelry, wedding, clothing, toys, entertainment, crafts, tools, arts, and collectibles.
That means sellers can set up shop without needing a domain name or complex technical integrations.
But that’s not the core difference between Shopify and Etsy. From the above definition, it’s now possible to start noticing the differences between these ecommerce platforms. Did you notice any difference on your own?
Shopify vs Etsy: Store Design And Customization
Regardless of what you are trying to sell, sameness could have your growth potential locked somehow. As one marketing and conversion expert puts it,
“No business starts out intending to blend in. Yet, standing out from the competition is one of the biggest challenges marketers and entrepreneurs face every day.” – Peep Laja, founder, ConversionXL.
Using A Custom Domain – Originally, Etsy was built to help sellers list their products directly on the ecommerce marketplace without needing a domain name.
While this may lower the entry barrier for millions of sellers, that isn’t ideal for gaining the benefits of differentiating an online business that often starts with a custom domain name.
Design Customization – irrespective of the ecommerce platform under consideration, the design of an online store is a distinct factor proven to influence conversion rate.
The thing about ecommerce store design, differentiation, and conversion rate is either they are within your control or not. While Etsy will let you upload product photos and basic descriptions to start selling as quickly as possible, you won’t have control over the design elements that influences ecommerce conversion rate.
Unlike Etsy, you can find some customizable free and premium Shopify store themes made to sell different types of products.
The question to ask here is this. Do you want to sell your products in a popular but crowded ecommerce marketplace or build your store?
Shopify Fees vs Etsy Fees
Based on the fact that business models for these two platforms are not the same, the costs are also different. When you are starting an ecommerce business for the first, second or third time, the operating cost is something you have to understand clearly before investing your money.
What then are the difference between Etsy and Shopify in terms of operating costs?
Sign up and listing fees – the main thing is that Shopify pricing looks like most other SaaS products you’ll find in the market. That means you have to pay monthly fees to start and keep using the services.
However, what you pay and the level of access gained are usually different. Here are the three plans – $29 for Shopify Basic, $79 for the middle tier, and $299 for the advanced plan.
Meanwhile, you can always sign up for a 14-day Shopify free trial. On this platform, you don’t have to pay any product listing fees. But then there are limits to the number of orders allowed in each pricing plan.
Inside Etsy.com, listing a single product will cost you about $0.20 regardless of what you are selling.
In some instances, this listing fee automatically renews after every single sale of the same item. While the amount may be insignificant, you have to take the listing fees into account when calculating your operating and marketing costs as well as taxes.
Transaction Fees – one interesting point to note is that each of these platforms takes transaction fees when you start generating sales. However, some slight differences abound between these ecommerce platforms.
Below are the current Shopify fees at the time of this writing.
- Shopify Basic – 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction
- Middle Tier – 2.6% + 30 cents per transaction
- Shopify Advanced – 2.4% + 30 cents per transaction
It is also worth noting that you’ll be able to get a 10% discount when you pay upfront for 6 – 12 months of any of the Shopify pricing plans mentioned above.
Contrary to this, every single sale generated through Etsy.com attracts a 5% transaction fee.
Etsy Offsite Ads Fees – Sometimes, Etsy runs paid search and social media advertising that features specific stores and products from different merchants. When an order or some orders are attributed to such ads, you’ll be charged around 12 – 15% fees.
Etsy Subscription Fees – Etsy claims to provide merchants with some extra tools in what the company called Etsy Plus. Unfortunately, the nature of the tools and the use cases are unknown. Though it is optional, you’ll be charged $10 per month for this extra service.
As you are making sales, the company takes transaction fees from your account balance. Please note that if you are selling from the US or Canada, Etsy transaction fees will not apply to sales tax, Goods and Services Tax (GST), or Harmonized Sales Tax. Your best bet might be to include them in your displayed price per item.
Marketing On Etsy vs Shopify
Regardless of your business model, marketing is one of the major factors that often determine the level of success.
It doesn’t matter how low the entry barrier has become. Without an effective ecommerce marketing strategy, earning a profit is likely not going to happen any time soon.
When it comes to ecommerce marketing, you are bound to find some differences between Etsy vs Shopify. From one marketing channel to the other, Shopify is hardly the same as Etsy.
Let’s look at some of the core marketing differences between the two ecommerce platforms.
Ecommerce Email Marketing
For every pricing plan available to all new users, you can also access Shopify Email. That is the email marketing solution hosted on Shopify’s platform. With Shopify Email, you’ll be able to send up to 2,500 emails to your customers without paying additional fees. Going beyond this threshold will attract $1 per 1000 emails.
Instead of paying a monthly subscription for a separate email marketing software, this option lets you pay for the volume and frequency of your usage.
Using Shopify email, you’ll be able to use ready-made email templates, send from your domain, as well as see how your campaign impacts product sales.
As for Etsy, there is nothing like a platform-hosted ecommerce email marketing solution.
Consider the fact that most Etsy sellers are selling directly on the platform (Etsy.com), not from their custom domains.
Helping potential buyers solve specific issues when shopping in your online store is one of the best ways to get more sales out of your marketing dollars. Bearing this in mind, Shopify Inbox was built just for that.
Though you can message Etsy sellers via the product listing page, it doesn’t work as a live chat to support potential buyers during their shopping in your store.
Inside Etsy product pages, you’ll see something like ‘this seller responds within a few hours.
Contrary to that, Shopify inbox is pure live chat.
Using Shopify Inbox, you’ll be able to see the current product inside a shopper’s cart as well as offer custom discount codes right inside the chatbox.
According to the statement on its website, around 70% of Shopify Inbox conversations are with customers making a purchase decision. And sometimes, these are people with some products already added to their shopping cart.
When you sign up for the 14-day Shopify free trial, you’ll also gain access to the Inbox feature to boost your marketing efforts and conversion rates.
Another interesting difference is how Shopify connects seller stores to leverage the power of search engine marketing. When your product feed is ready, Shopify provides some tools on the management dashboard to help ecommerce business owners create Google Shopping campaigns.
The benefit is that you’ll be able to attract potential buyers who are actively searching for the type of products listed inside your online store.
Because your Etsy store doesn’t work with a custom domain name, you cannot leverage Google Shopping campaigns in this way.
That means you’ll be to create Facebook Ads directly from your Shopify store management dashboard. Whether this is the best option for you or not is a story for another day.
With this feature, you’ll be able to upload chosen creatives, use existing product information and then select the target audience for your ecommerce advertising campaigns. Again, this is something you cannot do directly inside Etsy.
Hence, it is an online marketplace built to attract buyers on behalf of the sellers on its platform.
Shopify vs Etsy Reddit
Unlike any other platform, Reddit is a known destination for active and interesting online discussions. When you type Shopify vs Etsy Reddit into the Google search bar, you’ll find lots of interesting discussions initiated by ecommerce merchants like you.
Inside this platform, you’ll meet a diverse set of personalities sharing their real ecommerce experiences without self-promotion.
Besides marketing, having your online store integrated with other technology platforms can help you increase the level of operating efficiency, conversion rates, and profitability.
These are the things that modern-day technology platforms offer new and old ecommerce business owners.
For example, a growing number of independent developers are building apps specifically for Shopify. From order fulfillment to payment processing, shipping, conversion rate optimization, security, lead generation, and abandoned cart recovery, you’ll find many Shopify apps worth testing for good.
Unlike Shopify, Etsy won’t offer you those benefits of having your online store integrated with other platforms for the reasons mentioned above.
Benefits of Using Shopify For Starting An Ecommerce Business
- It is easy to start an online store without high technical skills
- A diverse set of free and premium Shopify themes
- Higher level of customization features
- Lots of integrated marketing tools and platforms
- Onsite payment processing
- Comparatively lower processing fees
Benefits of Using Etsy For Selling Online
- Inbound buyer traffic generation
- It is the best ecommerce platform for arts and craftsmen
- No complex customization involved
- You can set up the store without hiring a developer
- Fixed listing and transaction fees
Shopify vs Squarespace Comparison
Most times, the exact thing you want to accomplish should be the core determinant factor when choosing an ecommerce platform. If you just want to start selling crafty products in an online marketplace and without building a store with your own domain name, Etsy is the go-to option for that.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is an online tool for building different types of websites. With this tool, you can build an ecommerce website to sell different types of products online. For this, the platform will give you different templates to help you get started.
Originally, Shopify was built to help people (merchants) start selling products online. Unlike Squarespace, Shopify doesn’t have templates for building other types of websites except for ecommerce.
- Special portfolio templates
- Ecommerce templates
- Blogging templates
- Lots of useful extensions
- Social media tools
Etsy vs Shopify: The Frequently Asked Questions
Is Etsy part of Shopify?
These are independent companies operating within the global ecommerce industry.
However, you can integrate Shopify with Etsy if you want. For this purpose, you may want to use software integration and automation tools like Integromat and Zapier.
Is Shopify good for handmade items?
There is nothing you can’t sell on Shopify. Hence it is legal within your target market. But the thing is that Etsy started positioning earlier to target sellers of art products, handmade items, and collectibles. Assuming you want to leverage inbound buyer traffic already coming to buy such items online, Etsy might be your best option to get started.
How much does Shopify make per sale?
Depending on the Shopify pricing plan you choose, expect to pay between 2.9% – 2.4% plus 30 cents for every single sale generated through the platform. If you are using other tools like Shopify Inbox and Shopify Email, you are likely to start paying fees depending on the level of usage.
Is Shopify good for beginners?
In terms of platform selection, Shopify will tick all the boxes for beginners and advanced sellers alike. The best part is that you can start with Shopify free trial to explore how the platform works.
The main thing is to select in-demand products, define your business and marketing strategy. These things are more important than the platform you are using to start your ecommerce business as a beginner.
Can you have Etsy and your website?
The simple answer is yes. You can have Etsy and your website. However, you should take into account the resources at your disposal and your target market.
For example, if you are going after potential buyers who are rarely interested in the types of products sold on Esty.com, you’ll be better off building a website for that. With a $10 domain name and $29 for Shopify, you can get started.
On the other hand, going the route of building your site might involve hiring a developer.
When you are thinking through the best ecommerce software comparison, your task is to research and understand the differences between the leading brands in the market.
With the insights and examples given in this post, it should be easier to understand the difference between Etsy and Shopify.
Most importantly, endeavor to take your target market and available resources into account when deciding on this.
Whatever your top priorities are at the moment, looking at the core differences between Shopify and Etsy will help you to make an informed decision along the line.
Finally, remember it’s not just about the technology or platform used. Think about your target market and how to attract potential buyers needed to earn sizable profits.
People around the world depend on Radu Balas to show them clear marketing systems on how to put their businesses in front of their clients, increase sales, drive more traffic, build a brand, grow their email lists all while spending less time doing it using tools and automation. Drawing on his years of designer and marketing specialist experience, working for some of the worlds top influencers, along with his own experience in building a business from scratch, Radu provides priceless insights and a clear path to follow for a stress-free approach to starting and growing your own online business. Radu is also a best-selling author and runs several successful businesses online.